Just a quick glance at North Korea’s secret prison camps

posted at 7:41 pm on January 25, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I tend towards ranting about the deplorable state of human rights in communist China quite a bit around here, but while we’re on the subject of North Korea’s recent belligerent advances, there is plenty that goes on behind their dictatorial borders that the Kim regime doesn’t care for outsiders to know about, either. When it comes to the many, despicable, and rule-of-law flouting human rights abuses that go down in North Korea, the government’s constant refrain is deny, deny, deny — but the Telegraph reports that human rights activists are looking for proof through other, more innovative means.

Rights groups are pushing the United Nations high commissioner for human rights to open an international investigation into Pyongyang’s “deplorable” record on its citizens’ rights, including a system of political prisons that has operated for more than 50 years.

Pyongyang insists that the camps do not exist and are merely foreign propaganda, but the advent of high-resolution, free images from outer space has disproved that claim.

On January 18, the North Korean Economy Watch website announced that a new camp had been identified alongside an existing detention facility in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province.

Using newly provided Google Earth images, analyst Curtis Melvin was able to conclude that the new camp sits alongside Camp 14 and has a perimeter fence that stretches nearly 13 miles. …

Activists say that as many as 40 per cent of inmates die of malnutrition, while others succumb to disease, sexual violence, torture, abuse by the guards or are worked to death.

The United Nations is looking into launching an investigation into North Korea’s egregious record, and I suppose that every little bit helps — but as long as nefarious power blocs and authoritarian regimes like this are allowed to go on, the systemic and widespread human misery will of course continue. (But remember, guys — it’s free enterprise that’s really evil, or something.)


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